Scarlet fever: How is it managed

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The treatment for scarlet fever is aimed on eliminating the causative bacteria as well as alleviating the symptoms. Antibiotics are also given as part of treatment.

Medical care

Scarlet fever is generally managed with antibiotics to eliminate the group A streptococcus bacteria.

The drugs typically used for treatment are the broad-spectrum antibiotics such as amoxicillin and penicillin. For those who are allergic to penicillin, cephalosporins are chosen.

After 2-3 days of antibiotics, most of the symptoms eventually settle but the rash might linger for some time. In case the non-rash symptoms do not subside, a doctor must be consulted. In most cases, the prescribed course must be completed.

Self-care measures

Scarlet fever
After 2-3 days of antibiotics, most of the symptoms eventually settle but the rash might linger for some time.

The symptoms of scarlet fever can be relieved by providing comfort while sick. Dealing with the symptoms can hasten the recovery by allowing the individual to sleep and rest adequately.

Sore throat relief

  • Warm liquids – tea with honey or chicken soup can provide a soothing effect.
  • Frozen foods – popsicles, ice cream, slushies or smoothies
  • Throat lozenges or hard candy – these are only suitable for older children and adults
  • Warm salt water gargle
  • Cool-mist humidifier – this helps keep the air moist especially during the sleeping hours
  • Avoidance of irritants such as cigarette smoke and fumes from cleaning products

Itchy skin relief

Soak in a warm oatmeal bath to provide relief to itchy, irritated skin. It is also vital to keep the fingernails of young children trimmed to avoid skin damage.

Over-the-counter medications

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – these drugs can lower fever and lessen the body aches
  • Throat-numbing products – children over 12 years and adults can utilize sprays that contain ingredients that briefly numb the throat

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